Photo: WCYB newsTennessee Highway Patrol officers came upon this unusual sight on Sunday; the wreckage of what looked to be a rare 1966 Ford GT40, the supercars Ford built with Carroll Shelby in the 1960s to beat Ferrari at Le Mans. The photos set off a wave of speculation upon the Internets about the car and its driver, but now the owner has come forward to confirm it's a reproduction -- and explain how the car ended up in the guard rail.
Even though it's a replica, the $150,000 Superperformance MKII built in North Carolina comes as close as any modern-built vehicle could to recreating the driving challenges of the original Ford GT40. (Owners install their own engines and transmissions.) The driver of this red version told a GT40 owners' forum he had just left a Tennessee car show when he crested a hill and found a road covered in water:
I have driven the car many times in the rain without any indication of hydroplaning. Tire tread was deep. I was running 45-50 (mph) when the front wheels lost traction three times. The final time, all 4 wheels lost traction and the car started toward the guard rail...
I recovered 2 times, but the 3rd I became a passenger looking at the guardrail coming up through my left window and thinking this isn't going to be pretty. The car did well protecting me. Only wish I'd done the same for the car.
Despite what looks like major damage, the owner says it's nearly all cosmetic, with the fiberglass body panels and radiator taking most of the damage and the frame unharmed. As for any commentary on his skills -- another wreck happened right after the pseudo-Ford tapped the guard rail, due to heavy rain, and Tennessee patrol officers issued no citations against the classic car. Putting it back together will be penalty enough.